Rebranding of 140 Phones 4U stores to Vodafone expected in coming weeks
European carrier Vodafone is going to attempt to help some of the employees affected by UK retailer Phones 4U's administration proceedings. The mobile phone network will step in and acquire 140 of the chain's stores across the country, and in the process take on approximately 900 of the affected 5,596 staff at the saved locations.
Apple executives drum up publicity for iPhone 6 launch
For today's iPhone 6 launch, Apple CEO Tim Cook made an appearance at the Palo Alto Apple Store, while retail head Angela Ahrendts helped launch the phone in Sydney, Australia -- one of the first places in the world to get the device. Cook is said to have taken selfie photos with the crowd, and joked that he'd gotten the phone several months ago. Ahrendts was spotted talking with Apple Store clerks.
iPhones 'still made in sweatshops,' group says
The launch of the iPhone 6 at Apple's Hong Kong store has been tumultuous, accounts say. Police were brought in to disperse people waiting in line without reservations, and a regional activist group -- Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, or SACOM -- took advantage of the event to protest what it says are ongoing abuses by Apple suppliers. The group unfurled a large banner over the store reading "iSlave 6, Harsher than harsher, Still made in sweatshops," and published a new document about a nearly year-long investigation into one of Apple's most important suppliers, Pegatron.
T-Mobile carrier outlets without any Plus units
While other Apple Stores saw large lines for this morning's iPhone 6 launch, the Fifth Avenue outlet in New York City saw a lineup stretching 12 city blocks, according to Business Insider. By 6AM, it had extended from 59th and 5th to 71st and 5th, despite overnight temperatures dropping to about 54F. To deal with the wait and the weather, people brought chairs, coats, and blankets.
16GB models may be completely absent
People trying to buy an iPhone 6 Plus at a third-party retailer tomorrow may be out of luck, sources at carrier stores and Apple's retail partners say. Although outlets are said to be receiving shipments all day today, only two to three percent of iPhone 6 units are said to be the Plus, and even then only in one color. There's almost "no chance" of finding a Plus on Friday, the people claim, adding that the 16GB version will be absent entirely. The regular iPhone 6 should be available in all colors and storage capacities, if in varying degrees.
Puts jobs of 5,596 people at risk
UK retailer Phones 4U has gone into administration -- the UK equivalent of bankruptcy protection -- following a decision by network operator EE not to renew a contract ending in September 2015. The company now lacks any network partners, as earlier this month Vodafone said it would skip extending its own contract. All of Phones 4U's 550 stores are shut today, and will only reopen if and when administrators decide business can resume. The situation could endanger the jobs of some 5,596 workers.
Retailers choose platform-agnostic option
Two major US retailers -- Best Buy and Walmart -- have announced that they will not support Apple Pay, according to the Wall Street Journal. The companies are instead said to be backing a payment service operated by Merchant Customer Exchange. The MCX technology requires only an app download, and is platform-agnostic, supporting older iPhones as well as Android devices. Apple Pay will be restricted to the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and Apple Watch.
Store to return at midnight for flood of expected early adopters
[Update: Pre-orders have begun] The familiar "We'll be back" sign has appeared on the US and other countries' online Apple Stores in advance of the expected 12AM PT Friday opening for pre-orders on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Customers in Australia, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Puerto Rico and of course the US can pre-order the devices, which will appear at retail September 19.
Catch: pricing available on 16GB models only, Sam's Club prices $2 cheaper
Walmart, as is its custom, is planning to offer the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at a slight discount from other merchants. The company is reported to be taking $20 off the standard price, lowering the cost to $179 for a base model iPhone 6, or $279 for a base-model iPhone 6 Plus (both with new two-year contract). Those who pre-order from Walmart starting tomorrow will also get a $15 e-gift card.
Company may be forced to liquidate if relief not found
Following a 10th-straight quarterly loss, electronics retailer Radio Shack noted that it may need to file for bankruptcy protections. The company, with its stock in danger of New York Stock Exchange delisting, is also reportedly evaluating other options for the future, including an outright sale, or a call for investors to boost cash stocks to survive until the generally lucrative holiday season.
Includes Apple, major carriers
[Updated with in-store pickup news] In the US, online preorders for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will begin at 12:01AM Pacific time Friday morning. While Apple has yet to announce an exact hour, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon all have, and traditionally Apple has opened up preorders at the same time. Other vendors, like T-Mobile, are referencing a broad September 12 window.
Switch from paper to digital
For the launch of the iPhone 6 on September 19, Apple Stores will use a new system called Reservation Pass, a report says. During past Apple product launches, people in line have typically been given paper cards specifying the particular model they asked for. This let stores keep rough track of inventory, while ensuring that people wouldn't waste their time if a model happened to be sold out.
New iPhone pricing not yet revealed, may foreshadow revised China ship date
Apple's homepage for India has revealed that the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are to debut in the country on October 17, nearly a month after the US and first-wave countries' debut. The US, Canada, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Puerto Rico will all get the iPhone on the first day of retail availability, September 19. China was to have been a part of that first wave, but the iPhone has been delayed there due to foot-dragging by regulatory agencies.
Follows Verizon offer for free iPhone 6 with recent iPhone trade-in
With nine days to go before the debut of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, retailers are beginning to bring out offers to entice current smartphone owners to cash in or trade in their current device for a discount on the cost of the latest iPhone. Following previous reports of cash-in services locking in prices and giving sellers a month to send in their phones, and Verizon offering free (base model) iPhone 6 units to those trading in a working iPhone 4 or later, Radio Shack is offering both a trade-in and gift card incentive program.
Uses NFC technology, Touch ID, Secure Element
Apple today announced Apple Pay, its long-awaited mobile payment system. The technology relies on a mix of Passbook, Touch ID, and new NFC and "Secure Element" hardware in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Users can add credit cards from their iTunes account, or take a photo of one and verify it with the bank. A credit card number isn't stored on a phone or shared, and transactions are tokenized, as was rumored. Should a phone be stolen, Find My iPhone can be used to disable purchasing functions, eliminating the need to cancel cards. Cashiers don't see any of the transaction data.
Apple Stores, McDonalds also said to be receiving upgraded beacons, NFC terminals
Ahead of an expected announcement of an Apple-led mobile payments solution, there have been new reports that prominent retailers such as Disney Stores, McDonald's and Apple's own retail stores have joined the ranks of businesses receiving new, upgraded NFC readers and iBeacon sensors as required. The system, if successful, could offer a future alternative to the planned move to a "chip and PIN" credit- and debit-card system already widely in use in Canada and Europe.
Apple Stores, other locations already equipped for NFC
Apple's NFC-based mobile payments system will use tokenization, sources claim. The technology involves substituting debit and credit card numbers with complex, one-time codes. In theory, this ensures that even if transaction data is intercepted, it can't be used again. Tokens also have potential beyond payments, extending to areas like transit passes or physical security.
Could be harbinger of expansion to other countries
AppleCare+ plans should be on sale in Australia in the next few weeks, a source says. Apple Store workers are expected to start sales training within days. Unlike regular AppleCare plans, AppleCare+ options include reduced fees for fixing accidental damage to iPhones and iPads. It's not clear what those fees might be in Australia, nor what the overall plans will cost.
Some early campers promoting businesses
People are already lining up at Apple's Fifth Avenue store in New York City in preparation for the launch of the iPhone 6, notes CNBC. Two of them, Brian Ceballo and Joseph Cruz, are said to have arrived on August 31 in an attempt to beat a previous 18-day camp-out record by one day. Continuing a trend with other recent iPhone launches, Ceballo and Cruz are promoting a company, BuyBackWorld. They in turn were paid $2,500 by two other people -- Jason and Moon Ray -- to give up their positions at the head of the line. The Rays are promoting a VideoMedicine app that lets patients communicate with doctors.
City's third Apple outlet
Apple has announced plans to launch a new US store this Saturday, this time in Atlanta, Georgia's Cumberland Mall. The shop will open at 10AM that day, and in keeping with regular hours, operate until 9PM. The only exception is on Sundays, when hours will span noon to 6PM.
Protest accommodated until doors to store blocked
A group of corporate and retail security guards for Apple stores staged a peaceful protest of what they consider to be low pay relative to other employees at the company's flagship San Francisco store on Thursday. The issue the guards were drawing attention to is not one specific to Apple, but endemic among tech firms in Silicon Valley -- who collectively tend to pay cleaning, support, maintenance and security staff lower wages on average than regular employees.
Architecture partly designed by Steve Jobs
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted an Apple design patent on the most recent incarnation of the glass cube sitting over the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York City. The original cube -- paid for and partly designed by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs -- used 90 panes of glass. In 2011, however, Apple spent some $6.7 million on installing a redesigned, more visually-appealing version of the cube with just 15 panes, taking advantage of advances in glass technology.
Verizon, T-Mobile upgrade support only being piloted at retail
Apple's US online store is now offering iPhone shoppers the chance to purchase a device via an AT&T Next upgrade plan, instead of just choosing a two-year contract or going unlocked. Previously, people on a Next plan had to upgrade through AT&T itself. Apple's site provides a chart illustrating the differences between the 12- and 18-month Next plans and going with a regular contract.
T-Mobile will discount some models of iPhone by $50 off full price
Starting on Wednesday, T-Mobile will offer a discount of up to $50 off the full price of all iPhones, according to a leaked internal memo. The offer will not affect subsidized iPhones, but applies to "device only" (no contract) sales. The discount will vary depending on the model and capacity, notes TmoNews, and is likely a reaction to recent price-cutting of contract phones by retailers like Walmart, which has dropped the price of the iPhone 5c to 97 cents and the iPhone 5s to $79 with a two-year contract.
'Backoff' malware has infected 1,000 businesses across US
Target isn't the only US retailer affected by the "Backoff" point of sale malware. Following forensic analysis of the intrusion software, researchers for US government law enforcement have claimed that more than 1,000 businesses have been infected by the same strain that assaulted the big-box retailer, and now UPS storefronts.
Empty stocks linked to $25 iTunes cards
The Apple TV is showing as "unavailable for pickup" at many Apple Stores across the US, including the most high-profile ones in California, Texas, and New York. The absent stocks are reportedly being blamed on the ongoing $25 iTunes card bundle. Sales may also be influenced by a recent Lollapalooza livestream, and Apple's forthcoming coverage of iTunes Festival London.
Dubai picked as location
The upcoming United Arab Emirates Apple Store will be the "biggest Apple has ever built," according to men's luxury magazine Edgar, citing an anonymous source. The person also says that Apple has picked Dubai's Mall of the Emirates as the site for the shop, and that it was originally planned to replace a current cinema complex. Based on the timing of Apple's job listings, it's thought that the store could open in the first quarter of next year. Currently, there are no Apple Stores anywhere in the Middle East.
First-gen iPad minis on clearance in anticipation of new models
Target stores in the US and its online store are now offering first-generation iPad minis at clearance prices, selling the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi only model for $199 -- a price that is lower or equal to most competing (but smaller) seven-inch tablets, such as the Kindle HDX or Google's Nexus 7. The price is $100 lower than the normal retail price in all configurations, and $20 below Apple's own price for its refurbished model. The sale also offers $50 off the price of the iPad Air in all configurations. The promotion is good for "this week only," and is based on limited amounts of stock, according to the Target website.
Exact location still a mystery
Apple has posted job listings for its first store in the United Arab Emirates, reports note. The company is hiring for every level of retail position, and also makes references to the Apple Store Leader Program, a 24-month initiative aimed at people that have just graduated from college or university. At the moment there are no Apple Stores anywhere in the Middle East.
New stats may be attempt to sway local governments
Apple has posted a new promotional page, touting the company's alleged benefits to the European economy. It claims to have "created or supported" 629,000 jobs on the continent, with over 500,000 of those being linked to the "app economy." Of the over $20 billion it has paid out to developers, about $6.5 billion is said to have gone to European outfits. Among Apple's 280,500 registered developers, 52,000 are in Germany alone, and 30,000 are in France. The local iOS app economy is said to have about 20,000 open positions.
Will feature 360-degree Genius Bar
Apple is set to open its third Dutch Apple Store on Saturday, August 9th at 10AM local time, according to an official store listing. Located at Passage 39 in the Hague, the shop will have most of Apple's regular design features, with the notable distinction of a 360-degree Genius Bar. Most Apple Stores use a counter arrangement for technical support.
Phones must be examined before replacements are authorized
(Updated with European news) As predicted, Apple Stores have officially begun replacing iPhone 5s screens. Accounts indicate that the procedure can take as little as an hour, and is rolling out across the US, although it may not be available at every location. Previously, if an Apple Store didn't replace a phone outright it would ship the unit out for service, something that could take several days.
Could be ready in time for fall product launches
Even though Turkey's first-ever Apple Store opened in Istanbul's Zorlu Center just this April, a second Istanbul outlet is already in the works, according to a local report. The shop will be based in the Akasya Shopping Center. Photos show that the Apple logo and glass facade are already in place, and that construction workers are already installing tables.
Says first 90 days with the company 'amazing,' praises retail workers
Apple Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Dame Angela Ahrendts dropped by the Grand Central Station Apple Store this afternoon to talk with workers and learn more about the operation there. She is continuing a tour of flagship stores, having previously been seen at the grand opening of the Omotesando store in Japan and other locations. Ahrendts also released a memo with a Q&A section talking about her vision and her early experiences as head of retail.
Stores receiving 'large quantities' of 5s screens
US and Canadian Apple Stores will finally start conducting iPhone 5s screen replacements on or around August 4th, sources say. Some US stores have been piloting the service for the past several months, but now Apple Stores are reportedly receiving "large quantities" of replacement screens. iPhone 5c screen services began in January.
Permanent location undergoing expansion
As anticipated, Apple has launched its first-ever "open-air" temporary store, located inside of the Glattzentrum mall in Wallisellen, Switzerland. The mall's primary Apple Store is undergoing an expansion. Workers won't say how long construction is expected to last, but the temporary shop has opened earlier than rumored, which could mean that the expansion will be ready in time for product launches expected in September and October, such as new iPhones and iPads.
Averages 2.3 days to process and deliver, beating Amazon, clothing stores
Customer service analytics company StellaService has released a new report that ranks Apple as number one for online delivery speed, up from an eighth-place ranking in April. The iPhone maker captured the top spot for the first time in June with an average processing-and-delivery time of just 2.3 days, beating mostly online clothing outlets such as Abercrombie, Zappos, Nike and others. In a separate study that ranked all aspects of customer service, Apple was topped by J. Crew and Mr Porter.
A smash-and-grab robbery took place at the Southpoint Apple Store in Durham, North Carolina on Monday night, a report notes. The thieves smashed their way in via one of the store's glass panels, then proceeded to take an unknown number of MacBooks on display. The outlet has been closed on Tuesday as a result.
Program expected to be operational in time for next iPhone arrival
Traditionally, iPhones bought from Apple Stores come in two varieties: locked to an individual carrier with a two-year contract, or completely unlocked but at full retail price. Last month, the company began allowing sales of iPhones on pre-paid plans, and now appears to be poised to allow Apple Store sales of iPhones to existing (and eligible) AT&T Next, Verizon Edge, T-Mobile Jump, and possibly Sprint EasyPay customers, who have the freedom to upgrade their phones more often in exchange for a slightly higher monthly charge.
Black facade appears in middle of mall
Apple is building its first-ever "open-air" provisional store in Switzerland, a local report says. Macprime notes that as far back as March, it learned that the Glattzentrum Apple Store in Wallisellen, just outside of Zurich, is expanding into a neighboring space formerly occupied by Läderach. Within the past several days though, an area in front of the shop -- but separate -- has been surrounded with a black facade, and even a curtain so that people wandering Glattzentrum's upper floor can't see in.
Announcement follows quickly after Chongqing
Apple will open its next Chinese store in the city of Wuxi on August 2nd, at 10AM, according to an official listing. The outlet will be based at the Wuxi Hang Lung Plaza, and operate from 10AM to 10PM every day. Wuxi is on the east coast in the cluster of cities near Shanghai, which already has several Apple Stores.
Larger markets waiting on next iPad, sales in developing markets are way up
For the second time in as many quarters, Tim Cook has had to explain away drops in iPad sales. Last quarter, the iPad saw a 16 percent drop from the year-ago quarter, but Cook detailed a credible explanation that channel inventory from the holiday season had overstuffed retailers and that the drop was actually only three percent because of that, which fell within normal ranges. This time, iPad sales were down about 9.2 percent, which Cook largely blamed on anticipation for the next iPad coming this fall.
iPod continues terminal decline
In addition to its official announcement, Apple has also posted a detailed breakdown of its fiscal Q3 results. "Greater China" -- including Taiwan and Hong Kong -- continued to lead the charge regionally, with its revenue increasing 28 percent year-over-year to $5.935 billion. Europe and Asia-Pacific each advanced 6 percent, to $8.091 billion and $2.161 billion, respectively. Apple's most important market, the Americas, rose 1 percent to $14.577 billion. Global retail numbers were up 1 percent to $4.104 billion.
Continues expansion efforts outside of Shanghai and Beijing
A new Apple Store will open in Chongqing, China on July 26 at 10AM local time, according to the company's website. The outlet is situated in the Paradise Walk Mall; it should be a prominent landmark in the area, rising at least three stories tall with a massive glass facade similar to its twin in Shanghai. At present, that facade is covered with a "coming soon" logo featuring colored dots sprayed out from the building's Apple logo.
Mold, ventilation among obstacles
Apple's planned store in Hannover, Germany may finally open its doors in late September, say sources claimed to be connected to the company's local retail team. The shop has been under development for some time, with black construction facades first going up in April 2013. The delay is said to be linked to fixing up problems in the building, including mold, bad ventilation, and general defects.
Passbook card is refillable at Apple Stores, debuted in Japan
One day after the service initially debuted in Japan, the new "iTunes Pass" Passbook card is now available in the US and Australia. The iTunes app on an iPhone or iPad can now issue an "iTunes Pass" card for Passbook to users who click on the "Redeem" button in the iTunes app. Once in place, users can bring the device to their nearest Apple retail store, where staff can take money and instantly add it to the Passbook card by scanning the card, which in turn credits the users' iTunes account.
Update adds real-time gift card balance updates, ability to request money in Gmail
Google Wallet issued an update today that gives users the ability to add gift cards and request (or send) money through the Wallet app. The addition grants another perk to using Wallet as it allows customers to carry even fewer cards with assorted balances or perks. Requesting money from friends and family, or sending them money using a debit card is now free of charge, unlike the previous version which charged the same 2.9 percent (minimum 30 cents) fee as when using a credit card.
Will become state's seventh location
Apple has announced plans to open a new Ohio store, located at The Greene in the town of Beavercreek, just outside of Dayton. The grand opening is set for July 19 at 10AM; regular hours will run from 10AM to 9PM Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, the store will operate from noon to 6PM.
Could reach more regions soon
In Japan, Apple has unexpectedly announced iTunes Pass, a new service based on iOS' Passbook app. People wanting to refill their iTunes Store account can take an iPhone (or iPod touch) into a Japanese Apple Store and buy credit from a clerk, who then scans in the amount via Passbook. The money should be available immediately.
Claims same legal protections already obtained in US
The European Court of Justice has issued a decision granting Apple an EU trademark on the layout of its retail stores. The ruling (PDF) states that "the representation of the layout of a retail store, by a design alone, without indicating the size or the proportions, may be registered as a trade mark for services," giving the trademark scope enough to cover all of Apple's locations.